The degree programs of computer science at Paderborn University are characterized by their distinct scientific orientation, certain key aspects, and the adequate design of forms of study. The degree programs of computer science are scientific studies, which are research and method-orientated. As the degree programs are not restricted to simply teaching current valid contents but rather support fundamental concepts and methods that withstand current trends, the research orientation enables graduates to successfully work in the profession of computer sciences both, in the field of economy or science, throughout their lives.
Master Degree Program
The Master's program is a consecutive continuation of the Bachelor's program. Based on their undergraduate experience the students acquire additional formal, algorithmic, and mathematical competencies as they
are enabled to describe and analyze problems with formal methods;
acquire up-to-date research results and detailed, deep knowledge from a self-chosen area within the so-called Focus Areas, which are Software Engineering, Algorithm Design, Networks and Communication, High-Performance and Embedded Computing Systems, and Intelligence and Data;
are enabled to develop solutions to incompletely defined problems;
can handle complex, incomplete, and even contradictory information; and
can structure and formalize problems and solution approaches.
During the master study program, the students acquire competencies on methods and project management, which enable them to
design and implement computing models, systems, and processes;
apply innovative methods;
develop the area of computing as a scientific discipline;
define goals and topics, infer task assignments, organize solutions, lead and represent teams; and
assess the non-technical effects of computing systems.
Based on this program, the Master students are in the end able to work in high-level professional positions, as well as continue their qualification with a Ph.D. dissertation.
Course of studies
The Master degree program is almost completely in English with only very few courses in German. This takes account of the fact that English has become the common working language in computer science research worldwide. Thus, the degree program is suitable for foreign students with a Bachelor´s degree but it also means, that the program contains a lot of lectures in English for German-speaking students.
All modules of the Master degree program are assigned to one or more focus areas. Currently, there are six such focus areas:
Networks & Communication
Intelligence & Data
One of the focus areas is to be selected as the specialization area. All in all, eight compulsory elective modules (of 6 credit points each) in the focus areas have to be successfully completed. In doing so, three modules must be completed in the specialization area and modules of at least two different focus areas must be completed. Otherwise, there are no restrictions for the eight modules of the focus areas. These “weak” rules allow the students to choose rather freely from the modules. Highly specialized studies as well as a broad education are possible.
The project group (20 credit points), in which a group of 8 to 16 students works on a project for two semesters under the supervision of a lecturer, is of particular importance. Over a period of one year, the group works as a self-organized team on a project, which is typically connected to a current research topic. In this way, team-orientated working methods, which are common in professional life, are learned and practiced.
Furthermore, there are two seminar modules (5 credit points each) and the Master´s Thesis with 30 credits, which takes up a time frame of about one semester. In addition, there are lectures in a general studies module (interfaculty lectures) or an optional subsidiary subject (12 credit points). You can, e.g. take language courses as part of this module.
Degree Course Scheme
The plan below illustrates a possible arrangement of modules during the Master degree program. The green boxes correspond with the eight compulsory elective modules and the two seminars are successively placed in the 2nd and 3rd semester; parallel to these, the project group also takes place during these two semesters.
The 12 credit points during the general studies module (Studium Generale) or the optional subsidiary subject also take place during this time frame.
Of course, the distribution of elective modules, seminars, and the general studies or subsidiary subject can look very different. It is also possible to study modules while working on the Master´s Thesis (in the example syllabus completely during the 4th semester).
The rules require that one focus areas has to be chosen as a specialization. At least three out the eight modules need to be studied in this area. The remaining five, can be chosen freely. However, at least one must be from a second focus area. The topic of the Master´s Thesis has to be chosen in the specialization area.
Optional Subsidiary Subject
Unlike in the Bachelor program, the optional subsidiary subject during the Master program is not obligatory. Like in the Bachelor program it is, however, possible to choose one of the offered subsidiary subjects:
Business Information Technology
Also, an optional another subsidiary subject can be chosen on the application. The scope of the subsidiary studies is restricted to 12 credit points. If the lectures taken during subsidiary studies correspond to the plans for the Master studies, the subsidiary subject will be explicitly mentioned in the Master degree certificate.
General Studies (Interfaculty Lectures)
12 credit points are dedicated to the general studies (or the optional subsidiary subject). Most international students take the opportunity to visit German language courses in their interfaculty lectures to fulfill the requirements of the examination regulations of reaching level A2 of the German language. Alternatively, every lecture at the university can be visited as part of general studies. The active participation in the university choir, the university's theatre group, or the big band can also count towards general studie.
Generally, the general studies function as general education and should be seen as a chance to broaden one´s horizon. Nevertheless, the general studies will be graded, but only count to a small extent to the final grade. Generally, courses in Computer Science cannot be visited.